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Newegg Apologizes for Customer Service Failings, Promises Change

Gamers Nexus motherboard misery
(Image credit: Gamers Nexus)

After a considerable amount of bad press, Newegg has released an apology for its failings with its return process and has promised to update to a more reasonable policy.

Late last week, Gamers Nexus published a video slamming US etailer Newegg for its "shocking incompetence" based on the hardware channel host Steve Burke's recent experiences with the firm. The source of ire was the dismissive way that Newegg customer service treated him after he returned an open-box product that he hadn't even opened. When Newegg discovered that Steve Burke was from Gamers Nexus, its resistance to giving refunds rapidly evaporated. Now the big US etailer claims to have put in place new policies so similar errors won't be made again.

The timeline of initial events went like this:

  1. Burke ordered a motherboard costing ~$500 as it was necessary for impending content
  2. Before the product arrived an alternative motherboard was acquired
  3. A "30-day hassle-free return" process was initiated by Burke, so he could send back the unopened package
  4. After returning the motherboard, Burke was taken aback that Newegg didn't want to issue a refund as it said it found bent motherboard socket pins and thermal paste traces around the board's PCB
  5. Newegg customer service was reluctant to arrange calls about the customer's issue, making it tricky to set up a chat with someone who could talk with authority about refunds

In the video, Burke explains that the expensive motherboard was bought quite quickly, as it was needed imminently. The outlet wasn't really intending to buy an open box product, he explains, but Newegg has recently de-emphasized such details in its product listings.

With the above YouTube and social media coverage of its customer service failings by a high-profile techtuber, it was inevitable that Newegg would have to step up and say/do something. It started by trying to contact Burke, but he was obviously stung by previously being ignored so made them work to schedule contact.

(Image credit: Gamers Nexus)

Burke was happier after receiving the refund and getting the damaged motherboard sent back for him, to satisfy his, and our, curiosity. Above is a still from the video, showing the worst of the motherboard damage.

Newegg's Customer Service Update Statement

If something good comes of the above sorry tale, then it will be that customer returns of open-box merchandise from Newegg will, from now, be fairer. Sadly, Newegg's statement doesn't really take the evidence-based complaints on the chin. Rather it appears to try and paint a picture of Burke's experience being "isolated" or "one of a small number" of issues. Interestingly, the Twitter post's comments are mostly rather cynical about the "small number" of issues Newegg claims.

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Despite its seeming lack of willingness to admit any significant degree of guilt or systematic friction with regard to returns, Newegg specifically says that it has "put in place new policies to ensure a hassle-free return experience on open box merchandise returns on motherboards and CPUs."

For now, we can only wait and see if customer feedback in the coming months shows that Newegg has turned a new leaf with regard to its returns policies and practices. It would be wise to be more responsive to customer satisfaction, as negative stories about customer service can take a significant amount of time and effort to turn around. In other words, the stain of bad customer experiences is hard to wash away.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • Eximo
    Kind of left out the part where Newegg shipped a damaged product that they themselves had tried to RMA to the manufacturer unsuccessfully. Makes it so much worse than taking in a open box product from a previous return and just shipping it out damaged. They knew it was damaged, or should have, but it still wound up going out the door.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    Ever since Newegg sold out ("merged" with Lianlou Smart Limited) in 2020, it's been downhill both in decent pricing, customer svc, and pretty much everything. The worse bits are re-packaging bad products/returns, and allowing 3rd party vendors & not supporting the buyer when they have problems with those 3rd parties.

    I remember fondly the days when they would fight patent trolls. Now they're just another e-tailer riding the coattails of past performance.
    Reply
  • helper800
    Eximo said:
    Kind of left out the part where Newegg shipped a damaged product that they themselves had tried to RMA to the manufacturer unsuccessfully. Makes it so much worse than taking in a open box product from a previous return and just shipping it out damaged. They knew it was damaged, or should have, but it still wound up going out the door.
    The problem Newegg has on their plate right now is that only they know how bad it is behind the scenes and all we, the consumers, can do is assume the worst about the claims levied against them. Will I still buy things from Newegg? Sure. Will I be much more cautious about their tomfoolery? Definitely.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    can't trust a company that had a board for bent pins, refused to pay mere $100 to fix them, and then decided to resell board as a working product to another customer.

    that is legit evil intention...not accidental.


    i'd avoid using them for anythign that can be "broken" (i.e. nothign delicate).

    and again these comapnies never actually mean they are sorry...it only comes after bad publicity.
    Reply
  • DRagor
    Nothing I've seen so far tells me it was an incident. It more looks like a company policy of trying to scam the customers. Just hoping it will not become a new standard of dealing with customers world-wide.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    I can only think of one scenario that makes sense to have something like this happen. They sent in a product for RMA and got it back. Thus assuming it was fixed. Chances are very good that the person that received it had nothing to do with sending it in the first place.

    But that speaks to a huge problem of not inspecting RMA materials they receive.

    Given the state of the motherboard box, it may also have been a completely inexperienced person, they tore the side of the box open rather than open it properly. Again this speaks poorly of hiring practices and/or training.

    No matter what Newegg doesn't come out clean here. Either it was intentional or they have some seriously bad practices in their warehouse.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    When you have to layer policies on top of existing policies, something internal is deeply broken. Newegg's handling of this situation doesn't make me confident they'll treat people without a massive following fairly. The only thing isolated about this incident is that it happened to someone with a megaphone.

    Remember, Newegg is the company that scalps its GPU products through the Shuffle program.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Eximo said:
    I can only think of one scenario that makes sense to have something like this happen. They sent in a product for RMA and got it back. Thus assuming it was fixed. Chances are very good that the person that received it had nothing to do with sending it in the first place.

    But that speaks to a huge problem of not inspecting RMA materials they receive.
    I agree, I don't think anyone at Newegg intentionally sent out a known bad board to a customer with the intention of making them eat the cost. There is no way anyone could believe that kind of policy would work without getting caught at some point. It's most likely that who ever accepted this return from gigabyte didn't know the repair had been rejected, and obviously never bothered to inspect the product and just dumped it on the resell shelf. That is in no uncertain terms not an excuse for this happening. This is 100% unacceptable and is a huge black eye for Newegg. I would never buy open box from an online vendor, and this pretty much guarantees I never will.
    Reply
  • helper800
    spongiemaster said:
    I agree, I don't think anyone at Newegg intentionally sent out a known bad board to a customer with the intention of making them eat the cost. There is no way anyone could believe that kind of policy would work without getting caught at some point. It's most likely that who ever accepted this return from gigabyte didn't know the repair had been rejected, and obviously never bothered to inspect the product and just dumped it on the resell shelf. That is in no uncertain terms not an excuse for this happening. This is 100% unacceptable and is a huge black eye for Newegg. I would never buy open box from on online vendor, and this pretty much guarantees I never will.
    The only open box I will buy personally is from an instore purchase, like microcenter, where I can inspect the item before paying for it.
    Reply
  • Zerk2012
    In all fairness to Newegg all it would take to send out a damaged product that was returned from the manufacturer would be one person missing it.

    All their returns get shipped to one location in California with probably a full pallet of returns to go through not just one motherboard.

    Personally I have never had a single problem with them, don't buy open box, refurbished, or from a market place seller.
    Reply